Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chapter 34 - Send the Demon to Hell

December 4, 1948

Solomon decided to hike into Mortimer Hollow without Jerry because he didn’t want Becky left alone.

Thomas Cook watched him intently. Thomas had been having so much fun with Wally that he bristled when he saw the tall stranger in the hollow. He wondered if tall stranger would give him psychic energy as easily as Wally did. Thomas had whipped Wally into a lather of gut-wrenching fear for days. It was so easy to get Wally going, and then he’d just pour out the psychic energy. Thomas loved it. It made him feel alive again.

Maybe tall stranger will give me energy, Thomas sneered as he fell in behind Solomon on the path.

Leaves rustled behind Solomon. He turned quickly but saw nothing. He walked further as he listened. He turned around again. “Who is it?” No one answered.

A small whirlwind disturbed the leaves around him. Solomon said, “Show yourself to me.”

He wants me to show myself? Thomas was puzzled. He concentrated and managed a mist.

Solomon saw it and moved closer to the mist. “I’ll help you,” he said. The mist grew heavier like a swirling fog. It slowly took on the shape of a man. “You’re doing good, concentrate,” Solomon said.

Soon Thomas looked like a transparent man. The forest was still visible through him. Thomas challenged, “Who are you?”

“I’m Solomon Sepaugh.”

“Well, why aren’t you afraid of me?” Thomas questioned.

“Should I be afraid of you?” Solomon grinned.

“Most people are,” Thomas said.

“I’m not afraid because I understand you,” said Solomon. “I know that you don’t want to hurt me. In fact, I know that you can’t hurt me unless I help you. And why would I do that?”

Thomas pouted, “I like it when people are afraid of me. It makes me feel alive.”

“You are alive. You don’t need people to be afraid of you to be alive,” Solomon said.

“But I saw my body die! How can I be alive?”

“I’m talking to you, aren’t I?” Solomon said.

“Yeah, I guess you are,” Thomas replied.

“Come on,” Solomon said, “let’s go to the Watson place.”

Thomas smiled and said, “They’re scared of the demon.”

“I know,” said Solomon. “Tell me about yourself.”

“Oh well, me name is Thomas Cook. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the year of our Lord, 1742.”

“I’m pleased to meet you Thomas,” said Solomon.

“Will Wally be able to see me now?” Thomas asked trying to keep up with Solomon’s long strides.

“Oh, I doubt it,” Solomon said.

“What are you going to do when you get there?” Thomas asked.

“I’m going to try to convince them that the Mortimer Demon is gone.”

“You know that I didn’t mean them any harm, don’t you?” Thomas said, “I thought they liked it. They gave me so much energy when I helped them to see the demon.”

Solomon raised his eyebrows at Thomas and said, “Oh, I think you know you shouldn’t be scaring them. And I think you know that you’ll never get ahead in the afterlife as long as you just think about yourself.”

Thomas hung his head. “I know, but it’s easier not to worry about it.”

“Well, take your time,” Solomon said sarcastically. “You’ve got all eternity.”

Wally Watson ran across the front yard to meet Solomon. “Thank God, ye’re here. The demon got Johnny.”

Grady said, “Solomon, it’s done got Johnny.”

Johnny’s mother, Bertha, was sobbing. Her nervous hands had twisted her apron into a knot.

Solomon was worried that a six-year-old boy was missing in the woods…not that a demon had taken him. “Have you tried to find him?” Solomon asked Grady.

“Hell no! I ain’t leaving my family alone, and I can’t git nobody to hep me!” Grady was in a panic.

“When did you last see him?” Solomon asked.

“We seen him at brekfuss.” Grady nodded towards his wife.

She let out a shrill whine and dropped to the ground.

Grady said, “I told my kids not to go outta the house. They knowed that thang wuz out here.”

Bertha wailed “Oooh, sweet Jesus, hep my boy!

Solomon asked, “Wally, where does Johnny like to play? Would you show me?”

Johnny looked at his Paw hoping he’d say he couldn’t go.

Grady gestured for Wally to show Solomon. “Be careful,” he said.

Wally pointed up the path towards the waterfall. He moved around behind Solomon and grabbed hold of his belt. “I’ll guide ye,” Wally said.

“Just don’t shoot me,” Solomon said eyeing the rifle.

Solomon didn’t have to speak out loud for Thomas to hear him. Souls in the afterlife are telepathic. All Solomon had to do was think it. Thomas, have you seen the six-year-old Watson boy?

Thomas’ answer came back to Solomon as a thought. No, I haven’t, but I’ll help you look for him.

Check along the stream beneath the waterfall. There are places that I can’t see from the path. Solomon telepathically communicated with Thomas.

Oh yes, yes, yes! I’d be happy to do that! Thomas answered.

Solomon knew that Thomas would appreciate a chance to help a mortal. That’s one of the ways that lower level souls can make progress in the afterlife.

When they got to the waterfall, there was no Johnny. The only sound was the thunder of water falling onto the rocks. Wally and Solomon screamed for him, “Johnny! Johnny? JOHNNNNY!” The waterfall was too noisy.

Wally pointed to a bunch of violets growing along a ledge overlooking the waterfall. He leaned close to Solomon and shouted, “Johnny was on that overhang pickin’ violets for Maw earlier this week, but I made him git back from it. He’d already picked a few, and I made him throw ‘um down.”

Solomon shuddered. He went to the ledge and leaned over to see if he could see little Johnny. There were so many places he couldn’t see beneath the ledge. He knew Thomas wouldn’t have the limitations of the flesh. If Thomas wanted to look under the ledge, he just had to think about being under the ledge.

Suddenly, Thomas was in Solomon’s face. He was flitting around all over the place. I found the boy! I found the boy! I found him. He motioned to Solomon. Come on. The boy looks like he’s asleep.

Uh oh,
thought Solomon, looking asleep could be unconscious or dead.

Thomas was moving faster than Solomon could keep up, and Wally was running behind Solomon as fast as he could. He thought that Solomon had seen the Mortimer Demon and was running away from it. Solomon lost sight of Thomas, so he stopped running and looked around exasperated. He thought, Thomas, where are you? Then he saw his head pop up over a mountain laurel. Solomon was running again. Wally was in such a panic that when he caught up with Solomon, he passed him and just kept on running. He was heading home. “Wally! Wally! Get back here and help me,” Solomon shouted.

Wally slowed down enough to look back. He saw Solomon inching his way along the ledge where the mountain laurels grew. “What the…what you doing? Where you going?” Wally asked.

Solomon saw Johnny. He was lying on a ledge curled up in a ball. His eyes were shut. Solomon couldn’t reach him. He shouted, “Johnny! Are you alright?”

Wally came up behind Solomon all out of breath. He panted, “Did you find him?” Then he saw Johnny too. Johnny sat up, blinked his eyes, and rubbed them with his little fists. Wally said, “Johnny how’d you git over there?”

Johnny said, “I clum thu dat bush.” He pointed at the mountain laurel.

“Well, do you thank you could git back thu it? Right now!” Wally was mad. “I orta whoop you all the way back to the house. Ye’re in soooo much trouble.”

Johnny scampered up through the mountain laurel. He cried, “Please don’t whoop me, Wally!”

Wally said, “Pa’s gonna tan yer hide.”

When Grady and Bertha saw the three of them coming down the path, they both started running. Bertha stumbled and went sprawling. Grady kept running. Over and over Bertha said, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you Jesus.”

While the family enjoyed their reunion, Solomon concocted a plan to get rid of the Mortimer Demon once and for all. In his mind, Solomon summoned Servant. Servant, would you please help me?

Of course, I’ll help you. Solomon heard the words in his mind. You have a good plan. I’ll appear to them as an angel of light and tell them that I’ve sent the Mortimer Demon back to hell for eternity.

Solomon responded to Servant in his mind, Thank you, Servant. That would be wonderful. In fact, I can’t wait to see your performance.

Solomon joined the family reunion on the porch. Grady and Bertha were talking at the same time. “Solomon, God bless ye. How kin we ever thank ye?”

Solomon sat down on the top step and said, “Grady, you and Bertha come and sit with me. And Wally, I want you, Jacob and Johnny to sit on the step below us.”

“Come on boys,” Grady said to his sons, “y’all do what Solomon’s asked ye to do.”

When everyone was in place, Grady asked, “How we gonna git rid of the demon?”

Grady and his family heard an ethereal voice saying, “FEAR NOT.”

Their jaws dropped in unison. Solomon grinned.

Millions of sparkling lights swirled around in front of them. They coalesced into the form of a twelve-foot tall angel with a twenty-foot wing span. It floated about three feet above the ground and glowed with a brilliant white light. The angel said, “GOD hath ordained that the Mortimer Demon be cast into the FIRES of HELL for eternity. Live the rest of your lives in peace. He cannot harm you.”

Bertha cried. Grady’s mouth was agape, and the three boys hugged each other with squeals of delight.

The angelic form slowly faded from sight.

Solomon excused himself and walked down the pathway back to civilization. I don’t think we’ll hear any more about the demon after the Watson’s spread the word about the angel, he chuckled to himself. He drove down the logging road and turned left onto Rooster Cove Road heading for Becky. Birthing babies had kept him away from her for the past two nights. He hoped the rest of the day would be quiet so he could relax with her.

Copyright © 2008 by Robbin Renee Bridges
Coping with Grief through Afterlife Communication

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